Interview with Reelected
NAD President Daniel Jackson
North American Division (NAD) President Daniel Jackson introduces the NAD Report during the 60th General Conference Session, held in San Antonio, Texas, July 2-11, 2015. Photo by Rohann Wellington/NAD
Shortly after his reelection as president of the North American Division, Daniel Jackson sat down with NAD Communication director, Daniel Weber, to share his thoughts on the mission of the church in the North American territory and his hopes and wishes for the members there.
You were just reelected for another five year term. Tell me your thoughts. How does this compare to five years ago when you were elected?
Well, last time it was such a shock for me that I thought it was just a brand new adventure that I headed out on it with a lot of exuberance and enthusiasm. And this time around there’s a fair amount of knowledge and a fair amount of concern for the future of the church but I am really pleased and really happy to be able to serve. I am just very deeply moved by the expression of the NAD delegates yesterday as they stood when we were announced. I told my wife, I’ve got to put my head down because I’m going to blubber. So there’s just a completely different kind of sense this time around. Now I understand not only what’s going on, but I also sense what lies ahead.
: When you were elected five years ago, as you said, everything was new. But now, looking at the past five years, how do those experiences focus the mission of the division for the next five years?
Well, I just see the last five years as having been very positive, very enjoyable years. We moved in directions that we hadn’t gone before and I believe that God has blessed the NAD. I think we have built a solid foundation in the last five years. When I look ahead I see a wide variety of potentials and all of them are good, and I praise God for what lies ahead. We have a positive future ahead of us.
The church, some say, faces slightly contentious times based on some of the discussions taking place here (in San Antonio). In spite of that, what is your hope for the church?
Well, my hope for the church, I really believe that we tie into God’s vision for the church. Ellen White makes the comment, “The church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as it may be, is the only object on earth on which He bestows His supreme regard.” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers,
p. 15) and I believe that God wants to do things through the church that it has never experienced, and I see that as particularly true in the North American Division. We are the mother division, but we have not perhaps grown. We have not been as aggressive as some of the other divisions. We cannot be South America. We cannot be Eastern Africa. We are the cosmopolitan, complex diverse group of the North American Division. But I believe that moving into the future there are some things that we can do to ignite an advancement of God’s cause that we has not been experienced in this division before.
What gives you hope?
The people. The people in the division give me hope. I have had the privilege of traveling back and forth through this division to a variety of different meetings and to different places, and I see the desire of our people to be engaged in the work of the gospel. In particular, that is very true of our young people. I think our young people are waiting to be fueled to become a dynamo, and I see this in a number of areas. I think we have not fully explored those areas, or exploited them yet, but I think that the people are the potential of this division. And I get excited when I think of some of the things that could happen. And this is not a "paid political announcement." I have seen enough of North America and enough of the people of North America to know that there is something waiting to happen and that God is going to do something very positive in our territory.
What would you say to the discussions going back and forth, over issues that are not theological but are more ecclesiastical? What is your response to that?
Well first of all, I am very, very much a believer that it does not matter who a person is or whether they like us or love us, or whatever their position may be, we are brethren. We are bound together, I believe, – this is my theological and practical belief – we are bound together with bonds that Jesus created with His own blood. So regardless of what a person’s position is or how they feel about us, they are still our brethren. The North American Division, especially in the question of ordination of women to the gospel ministry, has been accused by many people of many things, and yet it has been our position from the beginning that we represent two solitudes – not just one. That we are responsible to be the leadership for all the people of the North American Division. So what I would say to the individuals is, that by God’s grace, the engine known as North America is going to move down the tracks. That by God’s grace, we are going to rise above theological differences, practical differences, suspicions, or whatever, and we are going to forge a movement here by God’s grace. I think God is leading us to this and my statement to the people would be, Come with us! Get on board with us. Move ahead with us. Because if not, you will be left behind.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
: Yes. I think Jesus is coming soon and I am praying that that will happen. I believe very sincerely that Jesus wants to return. I believe that. I believe that he will return when we begin to grow into the church that He wants. I want to quote Ellen White on the first page of Acts of the Apostles
where she says, “It has been God’s plan from the beginning that through his church, even to principalities and powers in the heavenly places, shall be manifested the final and the full display of the love of God.” We’ve got to come to the place where, by God’s grace, we are extending His love to one another, so that we move beyond distinctions, we move beyond differences. We move beyond the racial problems that can plague us. And we begin to sense that the real standard we begin to implement in the church is the standard of love. The standard that we can look at each other and no matter whether we agree or disagree – and by the way I believe that the church needs disagreement, honest, honorable disagreement – but in the middle of that disagreement, there always needs to be the assurance, “You are my brother. You are my sister. I love you. I care about you. And regardless of your position on this or that, we will link arms and walk together to God’s Kingdom!”